Question: How do I address edema? 

Edema is basically going to be caused by excess salt retention in the body. The reason is that with the exception of very extreme scenarios, your body is going to tightly regulate the sodium concentration of the water in your body, and sodium draws water. 

Now, that's not to say that the cause is eating salt. And there are cases where eating salt might remove edema. But generally salt retention of total water volume is going to be a big factor. In hypothyroidism it becomes I believe at least partly about glycoproteins in those spaces that are holding onto water. 

If it's thyroid-related, you're not really talking about nutritional support, you're talking about fixing your thyroid. Maybe that means nutritional support, but it might mean other things. But the nutrition is aimed at the thyroid, not the edema.

Maybe manganese would help modulate those glycoproteins in hypothyroidism the same way that it does in regulating the stickiness of the arterial wall. I'm totally guessing on that.

Edema in the menstrual cycle is caused by high aldosterone, which is probably caused by high progesterone. I know that everyone in alternative health thinks that progesterone is the good hormone, and estrogen is the bad hormone — but in PMS water retention, I believe progesterone is just accumulating so much that it's spilling into aldosterone. I genuinely don't know what to do about the high progesterone, but about the high aldosterone. Magnesium and B6 have been shown to help with that. I did an episode about that, so I would Google “Masterjohn what to do about menstrual weight gain” for more details on thata. Then I would play around with salt and potassium. So, generally less salt during that time and more potassium in the diet are potentially going to be helpful.

I think the principles are going to be similar elsewhere. It doesn't have to be in the menstrual cycle. You are generally going to find that salt is increasing extracellular water, and potassium is increasing intracellular water, and that's often going to be a factor in edema that can't be tied to thyroid hormone.

This Q&A can also be found as part of a much longer episode, here:https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/podcast/2019/02/09/ask-anything-nutrition-feb-1-2019/ 

If you would like to be part of the next live Ask Me Anything About Nutrition, sign up for the CMJ Masterpass, which includes access to these live Zoom sessions, premium features on all my content, and hundreds of dollars of exclusive discounts. You can sign up with a 10% lifetime discount here: https://chrismasterjohnphd.com/q&a

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you for the helpful article. After I began to lead an inactive way of life, edema was always with me. I am a designer and I love my work very much, sometimes I work longer than usual because I really like projects. I always give my best when I create a design because of this I sit at the computer for a long time. I hope your advice will help me

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